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Issue No. 307 19 May 2006  

Open for Business?
While our focus in recent months has rightly been on the federal political arena, the first skirmish in the battle for rights for NSW workers will occur at the state election, due in just nine months.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Laughing All The Way To MacBank

 Perth Apartments Go Like a Bomb

 AWAs - Just Say No!

 Andrews Puts Contracts on Families

 Safety Laws Mine New Depths

 Builder Threatens Homes

 Beazley to Halt Maxi-Scam

 Umpire Stumps Minister

 Worker Dumped Over Casual Affair

 Councils Trash Workers

 Union Journo Escapes Fiji

 Canucks Crash Howard’s Party


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Psychometric Testing for Bullies
 Pleased with Beazley
 What is Working Class
 National Day of Protest
 Tax Cuts
 Independent Contractors
 Drought Proofing
 Higher Profile for Labor
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Beazley to Halt Maxi-Scam

A former Australian soldier, sacked last week only to his see his job replaced by a Chinese worker on a short term visa, has sparked a shift in ALP immigration policy.

After attending a protest addressed by former MaxiTRANS employee Mark Walker, Opposition leader Kim Beazley announced a major shift in ALP policy, banning employers who retrench locals from using guest labour.

Ballarat company MaxiTRANS, which builds semi-trailers, made headlines last week after it sacked 35 Australian employees while keeping on up to 25 Chinese welders it imported last year at the same time that it temporarily froze its apprenticeship program.

Walker, one of the sacked MaxiTRANS employees spoke at the rally saying that he grew up in Ballarat, spent 12 years in the Australian Defence Force and then returned to work in Ballarat two years ago.

He has not had one day off and was willing to be trained to do higher skilled work at the plant.

Walker says the local MaxiTRANS workers had been assured they would not be the first to go if there were sackings in the event of a business downturn. He was sacked last week with no notice and feels he has been lied to.

The ACTU has welcomed the plan that would require employers to show that they are not laying off Australian workers one day and then applying for cheaper overseas workers the next.

"The Howard Government is handing out 100 overseas worker visas a day and is failing to properly check whether these are being used to replace existing Australian workers," ACTU president Sharan Burrow says.

In the last ten years 270,000 skilled workers from overseas have been imported and yet 300,000 young Australians have been turned away from TAFE.

The ACTU has also this week written to the Howard Government to request the establishment of new bodies to certify employer applications for temporary work visas.

"The new certifying bodies would include representatives from job and training bodies, local councils, unions, and government and ensure that employers exhaust all avenues to employ or train Australian workers before receiving approval to bring in overseas workers," Burrow says.

"I think all Australians would agree that this is reasonable and is something that a Government that cares about Australian workers should be doing."


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